Aug 19, 2010

Judaism (and the Web) Saved Me

I've wanted to write a book for a long time. My desire to write a book (i.e., get a book deal) has only been ramped up by the fact that my Social Media life has really taken a positive upswing (my greatest pride is connecting converts to one another and to helping converts find a positive space to thrive). I have no idea where to begin, and I don't even know if I have the time to do such a thing. I already figure that a second book would be in order after we make aliyah (okay, a girl can dream, right? Tuvia, you reading this?).

The other day, on a bus ride home from the city where I got to hang out briefly with the illustrious @EstherK, it came to me. A book title and a rough abstract (at least for half of it). So, I give to you, daringly, something I wrote on a NJ Transit bus a few days back. Let me know what you think. Oh, and if you know a book person, hook a Jewess up.

“Judaism (and the Internet) Saved My Life: How My Soul Found and Socialized Me.”

No pull is greater than the pull of belonging. Having some little corner in a greater universe to call your own is to be comfortable, at ease, happy. 

When I came to Judaism, I was depressed, alone, and without a place to claim a niche. I was wandering, and emotionally and mentally it was to a most dangerous place. I’d spent my entire childhood attempting to figure out the universe, feeling aged beyond years even as a Tween, and in high school attempting to plan out my own end. The world was too big. It was too much. And I didn’t belong anywhere. I fit into no puzzle, no square hole or round hole or Christmas Tree-shaped hole. I couldn’t take it, and no one was going to stop me from taking it by the horns. I threatened suicide once. Late at night. My world came crashing down at the age of 16. And then, it was like it never happened. My parents forgot, my friends forgot. I didn’t forget. I got better, I told myself. I didn’t need meds, and I didn’t need a doctor. No shrinks for this deep-thoughted teen! So I threw myself into religion, Christianity, the force I’d battled for years, but I needed something. I tried, I made that community my community. At least, I thought I had. But it was a lie. A sham. I admitted to myself and to my friends who I really was, a non-believer, caught in my own mind and my own thoughts, I had my own beliefs. And then, out of nowhere, I was alone. With my thoughts, of course. I had no people, no category, I was statistically the cheese that stands alone. I grew inward, I lost myself. In college, Judaism saved my life. The community, the niche I’d fought so hard to find, to no avail, was present and accounted for. I suddenly belonged, I had people, I had a history, I had a shared dream. I had a home. 

When I came into my own on the internet, I was, once again, without friends, without a sense of community, without a place to call my own, even within myself. I was a hermit living in one of the major hot spots for 20-somethings in the U.S., Washington D.C. I even lived like a hermit, in a basement apartment, three steps down through a dirty old garden, and I was in a hole. Like a Hobbit. I could sleep until four in the afternoon without seeing a sliver of light. My loner habits continued, even after I moved to Chicago and became even more entrenched in my e-life: my blog, my Twitter, Yelp, they were my outlets. The internet saved my life. On more than one occasion. It pulled me out of my hole, after a bad breakup, and it threw me into a social scene of like-minded e-thinkers, and it made me whole again. I had e-stalkers, e-haters, and, most importantly, I had e-friends who became IRL friends who accompanied me on outings for prime pieces of meat at local steakhouses and indulged my love of thin-crust pizza. I was re-socialized. I was loved. I was welcomed. I was part of something, something huge and nebulous and beautiful. I was a part of the New Community. The 2.0 e-club. I made it. I branded myself, I became Chaviva. The Kvetching Editor. 


Hadassah said...

I am so buying your book!! I think for many of us bloggers, we started writing just to connect with other people. For me, it was a way to distract myself from the pain of single motherhood in a community of marrieds. Everyone has their reasons.

I am so glad you started blogging - thats how i found you. You have enriched my life in so many ways.

You so totally deserve a book deal. I have a total, ripped off from @jrotem - Eat, Pray, Kvetch ;)

Ally said...

consider this a reservation to be put on the pre-sale list (can i even get one signed, purrrty please??:))

Drew said...

I would like to place a pre-order! Seriously Chavi, if you can put a few chapters together with a letter detailing your vision for the book do it and ship it off! Send it off to the big publishers, the little publishers, the jewish publishers, and if all else fails you can self publish.

After all, someone aspiring to 3 MA's should be an excellent writer! :-)

2cats said...

A great idea and a good start. However, one thing to keep in mind - Why Judaism? You need to make it clear and then drive the message home. THAT is what makes you special, and that's why I would want to read your book.

Right now, in your blurb you could easily replace "Judaism" with "Islam" or "Mormonism" or "True Blood" and it would still read just fine.
You know what I'm saying? ;-)

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

You girls slay me :) Of course y'all get early readers!

@AandYIkeda Well, the problem is that this was a brief little ditty I slammed out in a bus. If you know my actual story, you'll get it.

Rivki Silver said...

I would so buy your book. Pre-order please! I think it would be fantastic. And I don't think anyone has time to write a book, so don't let that deter you. :)

Karen Zampa Katz said...

ooooo It could be a wonderful book club read! (smile)

you should go for it.....

sooo who will play you in the movie?

Jack Steiner said...

Sounds great to me.

Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes Powered by Blogger | DSW printable coupons